CLEAR LAKE, Texas – It looks like any normal apartment complex, as people come and go; unaware that just hours earlier, Houston police made a gruesome discovery in southeast Houston.
Homicide detectives found a Hispanic woman in her 30’s, beaten to death and left in a vacant apartment at the Bay Apartments, located in the 16400 block of El Camino Real. Neighbors are in shock.
“I’m shaking. I’m serious. Freaking out,” said Z Barnes, a resident at the Bay Apartments. “Out of the ordinary. People are really sweet. They keep to themselves. That’s why you never know. Wow. I’m just freaked out.”
Police said a neighbor passing by noticed the second floor apartment door wide open at 4 a.m. and stopped to check. He walked in to find the woman dead and surrounded by, what detectives call, religious cult items.
“Like, what’s going on here? Supposedly here, like, everything’s good. I’m, like, surprised, like, what?” said a neighbor.
Z Barnes and her husband, Ramus, have lived in the apartment complex for three years.
“I mean, it is so safe to where the kids play out here at nights,” said Z Barnes.
Neighbors said it’s a quiet place, but have noticed a problem when apartments are left vacant between tenants.
“I know people like to squat around here in empty apartments,” said a friend of a resident.
The Barnes said that management was usually fast-acting with problems in vacant apartments.
“Probably no one associated with the apartments at all. Just two people found a vacant apartment,” said Ramus Barnes.
The couple plans to be extra careful now that something so violent has happened so close to where they live.
“If something like that can happen under our nose, I mean now we have to really look out for each other and have each other’s backs. That poor woman was beat to death and nobody can say anything. Nobody knows anything,” said Z Barnes.
Only if those walls could talk, detectives could find out why and who is responsible for taking a woman’s life and leaving her in a vacant apartment.